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Microsoft Teams update makes Android and iOS apps easier to use

(Image credit: Shutterstock / dennizn)

Microsoft Teams for Android and iOS is set to receive a host of new features designed to make the app more useful in non-professional scenarios.

In a bid to address the need to communicate virtually with family and friends, the popular collaboration platform will open up its text, chat and video conferencing facilities to non-business users - as well the ability to share photos, videos and GIFs.

Once a group has been created, users will be able to organize themselves collectively using a dedicated dashboard that hosts shared to-do lists and calendar items, which can also be assigned to specific individuals.

Microsoft Teams will also allow mobile users to share documents securely between individuals or within groups, and now comes with a built-in lockbox for storing private information such as passwords and account credentials.

Free for all personal users, the new features are currently available in preview on Microsoft Teams for mobile, but are expected to enter general availability later this year - at which point desktop and web clients will also receive the new functionalities.

Microsoft Teams update

Although Microsoft Teams was originally designed specifically for business use, the coronavirus pandemic has seen millions of users turn to video conferencing platforms to keep in touch with their loved ones.

The latest changes to the Teams platform are grounded in the inevitable overlap of personal and professional lives that came about with the widespread transition to working from home.

“With the new features, we hope to extend the power of Teams beyond work scenarios to your personal life,” reads a blog published by the firm.

“Whether you’re a busy parent managing daily family life or just trying to stay connected and in sync with those who matter most, the new features are designed to alleviate the need for disparate tools and instead offer one central hub for individuals, groups and families to collaborate and stay connected and organized.”

To activate the new features in preview, users that already have a Microsoft Teams account for work can navigate to the settings pane and select ‘Add an account’. Once a personal account has been tethered to the app, the user can switch back and forth via the same settings tab.

Those that have never used the service before can sign up using an existing Microsoft account, or use a phone number to create a new one.